Anne K. Edwards,
The Last to Fall
(Twilight Times, 2008)

The world's in turmoil and no one is to be trusted.

Young Jeanne Foster learns the hard truth of this as she attempts to get help for her ailing friend Lester and faces the prospect of being sent to a detainment camp where people without permanent addresses are held. Fleeing back to the streets, Jeanne is assaulted and left for dead by a roving street gang.

Jeanne, along with other "streeters" like her, the roving gangs and the peaceful occupants of communes struggling to rebuild their lives amidst the chaos, are all pawns in the plotting of ruthless President Kale Ruther. Ruther, himself the victim of childhood abuse, craves more power and is willing to use anyone anyhow to achieve his goal of a total dictatorship. He has risen to the presidency through devious means and plans to use the streeters and the communes against one another and authority in order to consolidate his power.

Minorities, unions and businesses are all jockeying for position. A decline in population has eroded the labor pool and many of the nation's largest cities are in ruins. Ruther has convinced many he is the only one who can re-establish order.

Out on the streets, Jeanne has teamed up with Lisa, a teenage runaway, and Toby Sterling, a youth who has witnessed more horrors than he wishes. Jeanne and Toby only seek safety while Lisa is in search of adventure and, in her selfishness, bodes trouble for the trio as they head for refuge at a commune in Maryland. Adding to the danger is the fact Toby has been accused of a murder instigated by Ruther.

They are unaware the commune and its occupants are the focus of Ruther's enmity as he seeks revenge against its leader, an old enemy. But Ruther himself faces danger from within as one of his trusted aides seeks to replace him as dictator of the nation.

Anne K. Edwards has penned an apocalyptic tale that is frighteningly plausible. Tension and cliff-hanger chapter endings keep one turning the pages and hoping for the survival of sympathetic characters like Jeanne and Toby.

Despite the odds, thanks to Edwards' skillful handling of the complex plot, the novel ends on a confident note and hope for the future. Readers in search of a riveting tale need search no further.

Note: This novel is only available in electronic format at this time. A print version is expected later this year.

review by
John R. Lindermuth

31 January 2009

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